Raising children is a huge responsibility. It requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice. Parents continuously learn how to discipline and teach their kids through trial and error. No manual or rules are set in stone because each child is unique. Children have their temperaments and dispositions, which make them unique individuals.
In addition to this, external forces like schooling and media, specifically social media, have a huge impact on the way children grow up. This is because they gather information on all possible avenues they are exposed to navigate the world around them.
Inculcating our values and practices into our children is very important. In today’s world, especially when it is hard to find practicing Muslims, even in the Muslim majority countries. However, this does not mean we give up on our children and their future. Here are ten tips you can use to encourage your child to grow up to be a practicing Muslim:
1. Practice What You Preach
Leading by example is the best way to teach children. Do not just say how you want your children to behave; do it yourself. Actions are much more effective. This means if you want practicing Muslim children, you have to become a practicing adult. Children follow our lead and observe behaviors, which implies we must adopt the lifestyle we expect from our children.
2. Highlight Their Priorities
Parents quickly point out the significance of getting good grades, excelling in sports, or doing well in social situations. These are important aspects of life, no doubt. At the same time, children need to be taught how critical it is to be good Muslims. Some basic aspects of being a good Muslim are offering the five daily prayers, fasting during Ramadan, and upholding high moral standards as set out by Islam. Children need to be told that being a good Muslim is necessary for success in this world and the Hereafter.
3. Get Them to Recite The Quran
Daily Quran recitation should be part of your children’s routine. Hire a tutor or make use of the many resources available online to teach your children how to read Arabic. A Quran teacher will also teach your child Salah and how it should be offered. They will also make your child learn basic supplications and Surahs from the Holy Book.
4. Understanding The Quran
It is not just enough to record the Holy Quran and know how to read Arabic. Provide your children with a translation of the Holy Book so they can comprehend the meaning behind the recitation. There are many transactions available and you can find one that uses simple language. Naturally, simple translation is not sufficient to get the deep meaning that the Quran contains. However, it is a start and better than not knowing the text.
The Holy Quran is, without a doubt, a source of light and knowledge for everyone. As Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى says in the Quran:
Alif. Lam. Ra’. This is a Book which We have revealed to you that you may bring forth mankind from every kind of darkness into light, and direct them, with the leave of their Lord, to the Way of the Mighty, the Innately Praiseworthy [14:1]
5. Tell Your Children Life Stories of The Prophets عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ
Life events of Allah Messengers عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ are full of deep lessons for all of us. There are numerous events that you can relate to your children. Instead of telling them stories about fairies and princesses, we should relate to them the trials and tribulations that we faced by Allah’s chosen people عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ.
The life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is specifically important since it is relevant to us all. Our children need to know the hardships the Messenger of Allah ﷺ faced to spread the message of Islam. This will not only teach our children gratitude but also give them pride in their beliefs. It will also cultivate a love for the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in their hearts.
6. Take Children to The Mosque
Children who are old enough should be taken to the mosque. Have your children accompany you so they can get entrenched into the community. The mosque is not just a place of worship, it is a communal gathering place. Your children can socialize and mingle with like-minded people. They can develop close friendships with fellow Muslim children and develop a community for themselves.
7. Have Open Conversations
Children nowadays have a lot of resources at their disposal. They are inquisitive; however, they have resources other than their own parents or family members. It is the parent’s responsibility to create an environment whereby children do not have to resort to outside sources to satisfy their curiosity regarding any subject.
Make yourself approachable so your children are willing to share and discuss any issue with you. Children may be young, but they are very perceptive and resourceful. They find ways to satisfy their curiosity, so taboo subjects are not a good idea.
8. Invest In Islamic Resources
Try to give your child as many Islamic resources as possible. Everyone may not be able to enroll their children in an Islamic school. However, there are many other ways of introducing the fundamentals of Islamic education. There are excellent Islamic books written specifically for children. Many other resources are free of cost, like YouTube videos and Islamic websites related to children.
9. Encourage Them to Befriend Fellow Muslim Children
As a parent, what you teach has a major bearing on your child’s life, especially when they are young. At the same time, children need peers with similar value systems and ethics.
Children, particularly those living in countries that have a Muslim minority, need to have friends who are fellow Muslims. Having peers with the values you wish to teach your children tremendously positively influences children.
10. Let Them Explore
Try incorporating Islam into daily life slowly and without pressurizing your children. Encourage them honors to Islam but do not punish them. They may end up associating being punished with Islam.
Let them take their time and be patient. Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى guides the righteous no matter what. Kindness towards children is necessary. The Holy Prophet ﷺ was known for his kindness and care for children. For example, according to authentic traditions, the Holy Prophet ﷺ used to make his prayer brief if he heard a child cry so the mother of the child would calm them down.
Raising Righteous Children
Bringing up children is the most important job an individual can have. Children are our future and we need to invest time and effort into making them good human beings.
Passing Islamic values and fundamentals is critical to ensuring that future generations become practicing Muslims. Do your part, lead by example, and pray to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى for guidance. Even if your children are not practicing Muslims, pray for them so they may see the light.